Thanksgiving A to Z

24 Nov

An interactive blog.
I am going through the alphabet and naming what I am thankful for.  I will probably write something effusive and gushing and elaborate and wordy. (Just a guess as the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior).  Then, in the comment section, you will name what you are thankful for starting with that day’s letter.  You don’t have to be descriptive or write anything more than the title.  But I will, because that’s just how I am.  You can take it or leave it. (Someone I once knew said that to me.  Ultimately I decided to leave it, but that’s another story.)
A is for Anna.  She is the breath of fresh air in this house.  We never know what she is going to say.  Ultra-observant with a decidedly offbeat way of viewing the world.  She has a heart as big as her personality, and life with her is always an Adventure (please note the A).
Additionally, I swoon with gratitude for the Ambleside School of San Angelo.
Ambleside is a tiny, but growing, private school that two of my three children attend.  Its educational philosophy derives from the teachings of Charlotte Mason, a nineteenth-century British educator.  The school emphasizes the formation of habits: the habits of kindness, of perfect execution, of neatness, of attention. 
The children start every day with chapel — prayers and hymns.  The texts used are rich in language and imagery and require the children to use their imaginations.  Nature study, composer study, artist study, and skills with sketching and watercolor are taught to every child.  Also music, Spanish, and violin are part of the curriculum.  The high-school and junior-high classes fund their field studies by planning and preparing Friday lunch for the school.  This means that 7th and 8th graders are writing letters to send home, counting responses, shopping for supplies, preparing the meal and serving it.  Then they have to subtract the cost of the meal from the monies collected to determine their profit.  They are learning to work as a team and to plan and execute a project from beginning to end.  They are also learning to work toward a goal.
The junior high class is making a quilt.  They are not even Amish, but they chose a pattern, chose the fabrics, and are now cutting and piecing and stitching.  Even the boys are working on the project.  The quilt will be sold at auction and the proceeds donated to the school.   Ambleside emphasizes building relationships, and the teachers excel at figuring out how to facilitate this end.  As the relationships in our home were strained in the last few years, I am grateful that my children are spending so many hours in a school where in addition to learning their letters and sums (and science and art and Bible and music), they are also expected to treat each other well, to be inclusive of those who are new or uncomfortable, to be helpful to those who struggle.
Because of Ambleside and Charlotte Mason’s philosophies, I am learning to be a better mother and I am becoming more adept at seeing where the popular culture goes awry and in what ways I need to shield my children, but not shelter them to the extent that they don’t know how to navigate the big world.
There are my A’s.  Now you have to tell me yours.


2 Responses to “Thanksgiving A to Z”

  1. Tifani November 25, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    Your school sounds as lovely and beautiful as your Anna. You are so lucky! It is the opposite of Morgan’s old school. I’m so glad he is not there any more. Thank you for reminding me of the things to be thankful for.

  2. MCM November 27, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    Abernethys. At least the ones I know.

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